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Why you should stop washing dishes by hand

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

by Staff Writers Shwetha Prabhu and Patrick Wang

Loading a dishwasher. Photograph: The Telegram

In my family, my parents always tried their best to hand wash every dish. I, being lazy, would never attempt to wash the dishes by hand and instead would put my plate straight into the dishwasher. It was a habit that bothered my mom, but it turns out I was economically friendly the whole time! The ACEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) put out a statement acknowledging the economic and environmental benefits of using a dishwasher. To address the concern of my mom and the million others, we've debunked the five common misconceptions of dishwashers so that you can stop using them as a storage rack!

Myth #1: Dishwashers Uses More Water and Electricity

Thankfully, the opposite is true. The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle; the average Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses 4 gallons per cycle, and handwashing uses up to 27 gallons per load! Inside a dishwasher, elaborate pumps, sprays jets, and pumps REUSE water throughout the cleaning cycle. Clean water is used only in the beginning and final rinse. Additionally, far less electricity gets used when you are heating less water. CNET insists that using dishwashers can save up to 5,000 gallons or up to 100$ on water bills every year! Why not let your intelligent dishwasher do its job? It saves money and enables you to divert your attention to binge-worthy Netflix shows instead of worrying about scrubbing those dirty dishes!

Myth #2: Dishwashers Don't Clean Dishes Well

To kill most of the germs on dirty dishes, you need water that's around 140°F or 60°C . While household dishwashers reach this temperature with ease, your hands can't handle that! Dishwashers now have powerful jets to power-clean dishes from multiple angles, making sure your plates come out sparkling clean!

The whole cleaning process is quite fun to watch!

Myth #3: Always Pre-Rinse Before Dishwashing

Don't do it! Pre-rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher is possibly the worst thing you could do to them. Most newer dishwashers can handle small bits of food. Dishwasher detergents rely on the existing grime for them to latch on and break down the dirt. Without anything to latch onto, it could end up abrading the dishware. The machine may also sense no food particles and decide to run a shorter cycle, leading to a less thorough clean and possibly leaving food that got caught in the rinse.

Myth #4: Shorter cycles will save more energy

Sorry to break it to you, but it just doesn't work that way. Shorter cycles are only meant for light dirtiness, whereas longer cycles are for spaghetti and meatball plates! Sure, it may use less energy, but the results will not make you satisfied. You end up having to spend more energy to clean those dishes thoroughly, and in the end, you waste more time and energy than if you just chose a full cycle wash. That leads us to our last myth...

Myth #5: More soap/detergent will lead to cleaner dishes

Sure, it means more cleaning power, but too much leads to cloudy stains on dishes and glassware. As a result, you'll have to waste more water cleansing the blemishes, and that's never a good thing for your bill or the environment!

Now, let your dishwasher do its job while you get to relax! Let us all help the planet one step at a time!

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